Ryan Sandes

Ryan Sandes started trail running in 2006 and was immediately hooked. He tells us why he can’t get enough of what he does.

Ultra-marathon trail running champion Ryan Sandes is passionate about his sport of choice. Although he has a number of first places under his belt, including all four of the Four Desert Series races, some of the world’s most prestigious outdoor footraces in the world, and the Leadville 100 Miler in the Colorado Rockies, his fondest memory is winning the K9 Search and Rescue Doggie Race with his dog Thandi. “We have shared many moments on the trails together and looking back now it was really special to run a race with her,” he says. For him, there is more to running than races and results: “It is not about winning or getting finisher medals, but rather about the experiences that I have along the way,” he says. We asked Ryan about his running career, how he spends his free time and what inspires him to keep moving.

What do you love most about trail running?

It has enabled me to travel the world and see some incredible places. It gives me a sense of freedom and it is an escape from reality. Running on a trail allows me just to focus on the present and nothing else.

Do you have any personal favourites when it comes to trail running routes?

I live on the back slopes of Table Mountain so any trail up there is rad! Currently Kloof Nek Corner ridge is my favourite trail.

What motivates you to run regularly?

I love what I do so it is easy to motivate myself. Trail running is my passion and a part of my lifestyle and I don’t see myself doing anything else. No two trail runs are ever the same and I love the unpredictability of the trails.

“It is not about winning or getting finisher medals, but rather about the experiences that I have along the way,” says Ryan.

Do you have any tips for people interested in trying trail running for the first time?

It’s important to have fun and enjoy yourself. It is a lot harder to run on trails as opposed to the road so don’t feel bad if you do lots of walking on the trails. Always take some cold weather gear and nutrition if you are going into the mountains as anything can happen up there. Most importantly enjoy the epic scenery.

What do you do when you are not running?

I am a fairly chilled out person and enjoy spending time on the beach with my friends and family. I enjoy the outdoors and spend my free time doing activities like hiking, mountain biking and surfing. You won’t find me in a shopping mall but I do love chocolate and coffee. My wife Vanessa and I are creatures of habit so you will find us regularly eating dinner at Raggafellows or having breakfast at La Cuccina as both restaurants are in Hout Bay where we live.

Ryan Sandes

Images credited to: Craig Kolesky/ Red Bull Content Pool